After George Russell – who filled in for Lewis
Hamilton on the Mercedes F1 team – was robbed from an incredible debut win in Bahrain, Mercedes have found the source of the problem.
Russell, who had stepped in after Lewis Hamilton tested positive for Covid, has impressed the team immensely in his first race before a pit-stop gaffe cost him his lead.
The 22-year-old was forced to pit again after having the wrong tyres fitted in the first pit. His misery was compounded by a puncture late on, which resulted in Russell finishing in ninth.
Mercedes engineering director, Andrew Shovlin, moved to explain the series of events that caused the problem in the pit. He explained that "We haven't had enough time to get an absolute and thorough understanding of what went on, but we have found a smoking gun. That has to do with how the radio system prioritises messages. When, for instance, Ron [Meadows, sporting director] is calling out the crews and getting them to get the tyres ready for the two drivers, there were a number of broadcasts at that time on the radio system. The system knows to prioritise the messages coming from Ron, because the most important thing is the tyres are there: more so than whatever a driver says or whatever someone else in the crew might say.
"But it looks like there is a period whereby the system is deciding to let the prioritised message through, and we missed a key bit of the broadcast. [This meant] that half of the tyre collectors didn't get the message. And it looks like half of them did. Therefore we've got the cars coming in, and all the tyres are not ready in the pit lane."